The influence of ACTN3 R577X genotype on performance and muscle adaptations to a single bout of exercise

Papadimitriou, Ioannis D (2018) The influence of ACTN3 R577X genotype on performance and muscle adaptations to a single bout of exercise. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


ACTN3 has been labelled as the ‘gene for speed’ due to the increased frequency of the R allele encoding the α-actinin-3 protein in elite sprint athletes compared to the general population. The results of the first study of this thesis demonstrate that elite athletes who express α-actinin-3 (ACTN3 RR genotype) have faster sprint times compared to those who do not express α-actinin-3 (ACTN3 XX genotype). Further analysis indicates that the ACTN3 genotype accounts for 0.92% in sprint speed amongst elite 200-m athletes. In study two, the same quantitative genetic epidemiological design applied to elite endurance athletes, showed no evidence that a trade-off existed. The endurance athletes with the ACTN3 XX genotype were no faster than those who express the α-actinin-3 protein. These results added to literature that it is unlikely the ACTN3 XX genotype to offer an advantage for endurance performance. While ACTN3 genotype does not appear to influence endurance performance in athletes, studies in mice that completely lack the α-actinin-3 protein suggest the ACTN3 genotype influences the adaptive response to endurance exercise. Based on these findings, the aim of study 3 was to investigate if ACTN3 genotype influences exercise-induced changes in the content of genes and proteins associated with mitochondrial biogenesis. At baseline, there was a compensatory greater α-actinin-2 protein content in ACTN3 XX vs ACTN3 RR participants (p=0.018) but there were no differences in the endurance-related phenotypes measured. There was a main effect of genotype (p=0.006), without a significant interaction effect, for RCAN1-4 or significant exercise-induced expression of genes associated with mitochondrial biogenesis. Together, these results suggest that ACTN3 genotype has a small but significant influence on sprint speed amongst elite sprint athletes. However, loss of α-actinin-3 protein is not associated with higher values for endurance-related phenotypes, endurance performance, or a greater adaptive response to a single session of high-intensity endurance exercise.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 0604 Genetics
Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords athletes; ACTN3 RR; a-actinin-3; sprinting; endurance; ACTN3 XX; ACTN3 R577X; exercise; muscles; calcineurin; mitochondrial biogenesis; genes; proteins
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